Review

Song Review: LOONA – So What

For as popular as LOONA have become internationally, their agency has had a difficult time capitalizing on the hype. Sure, the girls attended last year’s KCON LA, but they’ve gone almost a year without a proper comeback. And though the lore surrounding their concept has been detailed and consistent, their title tracks have varied wildly in sound. Last year’s Butterfly won many admirers, but I found its beat-drop-chorus and pitched vocals to be somewhat off-putting. New single So What is likely to polarize further. However, it’s probably my favorite title track the group has released yet.

With added production help from SM Entertainment’s Lee Sooman, So What comes across as a more aggressive version of an ITZY single. Like Dalla Dalla and ICY, the instrumental is stuffed to the brim with noise, forging a wall-of-sound aesthetic that’s overpowering from the start. I appreciate the bombast, especially when it’s tethered to huge waves of layered vocals that give the otherwise combative track a needed richness. While the song’s chorus isn’t melodically complex, it’s arranged with such aplomb that it’s hard not to get caught up in its confidence.

Of course, So What isn’t without its issues. “I’m so bad” is not an appealing hook, and the words are repeated so often that they begin to lose all meaning. I don’t like this kind of ‘aren’t we edgy?’ posturing when boy groups do it, and I don’t appreciate when girl groups take such an obvious route either. So What’s video hints at a complexity that’s lost in the simple English-language catchphrases that pepper the track.

However, much of this repetition is countered by the sheer force spawned by the production. It’s brash and freewheeling and messy, and never lingers long on a single element. When So What finally cools down for its filtered bridge, it’s a welcome break from the attitude-driven cacophony surrounding it. But, moments later the song regenerates — bigger and bolder than ever. This unrelenting energy will either thrill or repel. Right now, I pick the first option, but I could also see So What fizzling out as time goes on.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

23 thoughts on “Song Review: LOONA – So What

  1. The layered vocals and harmonies heavily reminded me of the Red side of RV curious to see if you feel the same way, also wondering about your thoughts on the bsides

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know what, I even guessed the final score before it came out Nick.

    The album itself is basically f(x) + BoA (One Shot Two Shot) + NCT127:

    # + So What is f(x) + NCT

    Number 1 is from BoA (One Shot Two Shot) (Who would have thought!)

    Oh (Yes I Am) is totally a 127 b side

    Ding Dong Dong I don’t know

    I absolutely love this choreography, great to see this muscular f(x) beatburgerj style back to K-pop girl groups.

    Like

  3. It sounds like Nature “oopsie my bad” meets Itzy “Icy”, plus the choral chord build from one other song that I have been trying to place.

    While I am listening through my helium playlist, I will add that sonny boy said “when is this going to end?”. I dont think it’s that bad. Actually it is a great example of how producing a song to the hilt can lift a song up beyond the source material. LOONA do a great job at keeping up with it all with a solid, charismatic, talented performance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I exactly agree with you… Especially after the bridge, I love the progression of the song. So it is okay for me. I still love the album… I love Number 1, Oh sounds good, Ding Dong Dong is kind of my song.

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  5. I actually really liked this one. The teaser had me a little nervous, but I really love the ITZY-ness of the song, and I think this could mean Lee Soo-man might collab with more groups in the future. The song also reminds me a lot of the complextro vibe of Shinee’s Everybody, though not as wild, which I love. I absolutely adore Number 1 from the mini though, definitely my favorite Kpop song of 2020 so far.

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    • Not really this blog’s style. Nick and the rest of us call it as we see it, even for our own biases. There is no score for “fandom” no matter how many clicks it may drive to or away from this blog.

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  6. The one (1) time you like a Loona track, I have a completely divergent opinion. My gosh! While Loona tracks tend to grow on me immensely over time (I somehow hated Hi High when it came out, if you remember), somehow I don’t think this one will. After all, why listen to this when I can listen to CLC’s “No” yet again and marvel at its undoubted mastery of the “kpop girls try to be bad but the shiny veneer is not convincing at all” genre?
    This is kind of disappointing over all: the arrangement kind of throws everything into the mix and turns it up to 11, which is a bit of a shame. I mean, as someone who unashamedly liked “I don’t like your girlfriend” by Weki Melinda when it came out, I feel like I have a high tolerance for this sort of thing, but alas!

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    • For what it’s worth, I’ve soured a bit on the song myself. I still like it, but that repeated “I’m so bad” hook is not aging well. It just feels too obvious.

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  7. I frowned at the airhorn/ trap beat in the intro, but when the song started it immediately turned into a massive smile. This sound brings me back to the excitement I felt first listening to songs like Fire or Clap. The energy and anthemic feel of the song, I LOVE it. Apart from the obvious ‘Im so bad’ , I really like the lyrics too. People have been complaining that this ‘doesn’t sound like loona’ but for me, that is a good thing.

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    • The “doesn’t sound like [redacted]” isn’t a bad thing until it turns into a “it sounds like [redacted]”. Which is exactly this case.

      Like

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